Saturday 14 March 2015

Why Fighting WWII was right

Over at another politically incorrect blog, Mr. Doom, who I link too has written a review of Patrick Buchanan's 2008 book, "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War". To really understand why I'm writing this, you might want to read the post and our exchange first.

Firstly while Mr. Buchanan is a real Conservative, I'm afraid I don't have much time for him as he's a Paleo-Conservative, or to put it another way he's an Isolationist. I am however a Traditional Conservative and on social and economic matters the two see pretty much eye to eye, but not on Foreign policy. There the Paleo-Conservative believes that we should not interfere or be involved in foreign countries, How realistic is that?

Mr. Buchanan's book, as the title suggests, believes that WWII was unnecessary, if only France and Britain, and by implication the United States had left Germany alone then there would not have been any war. Germany was simply trying to readdress the problems caused by losing WWI and the Treaty of Versailles. It wasn't a Western problem, it was an East European problem and the Nazis really only wanted to fight the Soviet Union, if they had stayed out then there wouldn't have been a second World War.

It is exactly this kind of thinking that gave us WWII, it is exactly this kind of thinking that lead to the policy of Appeasement. Lets have a look at the timeline that lead to the war in Europe.

1918 Germany and her allies are defeated. The German Empire and Monarchy is overthrown.

1919 The Treaty of Versailles takes German territory and gives it to Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, France and Belgium. The Treaties of Saint Germain-en-Laye and Trianon with Austria and Hungary respectively, breaking up the Austro-Hungarian Empire. All become Republics.

1923 Germany experiences hyper-inflation and the French occupy the Saar.

1925-29 Germany has an economic boom.
1929 The boom ends when the US banks who loaned Germany the money that created the boom want their money back as quickly as possible because of the growing economic depression.

1929-33 Germany is one of the countries hardest hit by the great depression. Unemployment stands at 1 in 3. No party can gain a majority in the Reichstag, political chaos reigns.

1933 President Hindenburg is persuaded to make Hitler Chancellor. The Nazi's take office and then illegally destroy all opposition, creating a one party state.

1934 President Hindenburg dies and Hitler makes himself Head of State, all German soldiers and sailors must swear an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler. Germany and Poland sign a Non-Aggression Pact valid for 10 years.

1935 Germany announces that it is rearming and reintroducing conscription. Britain and Germany sign the Anglo-German Naval Agreement. The Treaty of Versailles is effectively dead.

1936 Germany sends three battalions into the Rhineland, the Rhineland had been demilitarized since 1924. The French do nothing, Charles De Gaulle calls it "A defeat without a battle". Germany sends money, supplies, equipment and troops to support the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. The Olympics are held in Berlin.

1938 Austria is put under intense pressure to join Germany, the Anschluss. The Austrian President calls for a referendum on the issue, within 3 days of the announcement German troops enter Austria, the Austrian Government offers no resistance. While the Nazi's were always anti-Semitic it didn't seem that extreme from a distance, in Vienna the treatment of the Jews was public and unfiltered for the first time. Attitudes towards Nazi Germany began to change. Germany makes similar demands on the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, as it contains primarily ethnic Germans. The Sudetenland had never been a part of Germany, in the Middle Ages it was part of the Kingdom of Bohemia and then the Austrian Empire. Germany prepared Case Green, the military invasion of Czechoslovakia. An International Conference is convened to find a peaceful end to the crisis. Italy, France, Britain and Germany are invited, Czechoslovakia is not. The Conference agrees to give Germany the Sudetenland, with the agreement that the rest of Czechoslovakia will be left alone. Prime Minister Chamberlain of Britain gives his famous "peace for our time" quote. Within 6 weeks the Nazis attack Jews and their property in the Night of Broken Glass across Germany.

1939 6 months after signing the Munich Agreement, Germany takes over the rest of Czechoslovakia.
 Britain and France retaliate by giving a guarantee to Poland. Hitler believes after Munich that neither country will honour the guarantee to Poland. Germany invades Poland, 3 days later Britain and France declare war. WWII begins.

I don't believe I have made any controversial statement in this timeline. How is it possible to avoid war? Be more cowardly! More dishonourable! More craven! Is that even possible!

The policy of Appeasement said always give the bully what he wants, anything is better than war. Germany breaks the Treaty of Versailles, only 16 years after it was signed and how does Britain responded? By formalizing it with the Anglo-German Naval Agreement. And France just blindly follows. When Germany decides to remilitarize the Rhineland, what does France do? Nothing because Britain doesn't think its a problem. When Austria seeks International support to stop a Nazi takeover, no one helps. When Czechoslovakia, who has a military treaty with France expects to be supported by its Ally, it is instead betrayed. Poland which signed a Non-Aggression pact with Germany, Nazi Germany, is attacked with 50% of the time period still to go.

Put this together with the Appeasement of Italy and Japan and its no wonder that Germany believed that no amount of outrageous behavior would lead to war. How bad was the policy of Appeasement is shown by Mr. Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Britain and one of its greatest supporters. When he arrived back from Munich in September 1938 he said these words

We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again."

By March 1939, 6 months later he was convinced that nothing would stop war as Nazi Germany could not be trusted to keep its word. War came because Hitler wanted war, not only in the east, because Hitler wanted Germany to dominate all of Europe and by dominate he meant by force. Plan Z was the plan to rebuild the German navy for war with Britain. The U-Boats didn't exist to fight Poland or the Soviet Union, or France, they existed to fight Britain. The idea that Britain or France could have been safe if only they had only given even more to Nazi Germany is delusional.

Speaking of delusional, here we come to the hatred of Winston Churchill, supposed warmonger and war criminal, if only he had kept his nose out of poor Germany's business there would have been no war. Well let me put it another way, if Winston Churchill had never been born there still would have been two world wars, the nature of them would have been different but not the reality of them. Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940, 8 months after the start of the war, he had not held a Cabinet level position since 1929. How exactly does a man who isn't Prime Minister or in the Cabinet start a war?

On the 3rd of September 1939 Mr. Chamberlain was the Prime Minister of Britain and he declared war upon Germany, later that day France, New Zealand and Australia, in that order declared war.

That a Conservative can argue that we should not have fought WWII is just sick and twisted,

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"England has been offered a choice between war and shame. She has chosen shame, and will get war."


  1. Hi Mr. Moncrieff,

    It needs to be recognized that the subject of the justness of World War II is multifaceted. The question of “was it right to go to war with Hitler” is very different from the question of “was September 1939 the right time to go to war with Hitler”. If we focus on the first of these questions then the answer of “yes” as you have articulated both here and in your comments to the review at Politically Incorrect Australian is, of course, correct. Hitler was a maniacal despot, and while his domestic tyranny was hardly a sufficient cause to go to war, he was an aggressor, clearly itching for war and conquest, who had proven that he could not be trusted to keep his word given in negotiations, and therefore posed such a threat to the peace, security, and liberty of his neighbours as to justify the Allies going to war with him.

    The answer to the second question is not so obvious and I think that here the stronger case can be made for the answer being “no”. Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany in September of 1939 in response to Germany’s invasion of Poland because they had promised Poland they would do so. If we leave aside the matters of whether Poland’s government deserved such a promise and whether Hitler’s demands against Poland were among the more or the less reasonable of his demands, neither Britain nor France, which were on the opposite side of Germany from Poland and which were not militarily prepared for war at that time, was in a position to make good on what they had promised Poland. Indeed, when the war was over, Poland was enslaved completely by the country that had agreed to divide it with Nazi Germany in a secret codicil to a treaty signed with Hitler just before the war. On the grounds that you should not make promises that you are unable to keep, the promise to Poland should not have been made, and the declaration of war in September of 1939 that ensued from that promise, should not have taken place, not because war with Nazi Germany was wrong, but because it was the wrong time.

    That, of course, raises the question of when the right time would have been and there are two possible answers. The first is that Britain and France should have nipped the matter in the bud earlier, at the first sign of aggression from Hitler and before he had a chance to fully develop his war machine. The second is that they should have refrained from declaring war immediately but instead initiated their own, large scale, military build up so that when the war did come they would be better prepared to fight it.

    Judged in terms of its outcome World War II was hardly “the Good War” of pop culture mythology. Yes, Hitler and Nazi Germany were defeated. To defeat him we had to make a pact with the devil himself in the form of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. The price that we paid to defeat Hitler was the loss of the British Empire. This is a price that was even more terrible to your country and mine than it was to the United Kingdom, because although our countries went to war for the noblest of motives – loyalty to our king and to the mother country in her hour of need – what the price of the loss of the Empire meant to us was a weakening of the ties to the mother country, the source of our tradition, and I don’t think either of our countries are better off for it. Poland did not regain her freedom as a result of the war, but was rather swallowed up along with several other Eastern European countries by the Soviet Union. The number of peoples enslaved by Communism went up drastically as a result of this war and the world was left in a state in which the old powers of Britain and France were weakened and exhausted and two new superpowers, one the avatar of liberal capitalism the other the avatar of Marxist communism were locked into a forty year “struggle for the world” that would be determined by which would be able to develop the largest arsenal of high tech weapons of mass destruction.

  2. Mr. Neal

    Should Britain and France gone to war in September 1939, the answer is yes as it is the logical next step. They sell out Czechoslovakia to win peace. The sell out doesn't work so they change tactics and give a guarantee to Poland. Any other answer is 20/20 vision. But lets look at the other options. The first and best option is when Germany breaks the Treaty of Versailles in 1935, Germany is much weaker and there is a clear casus belli. Instead Britain caves in and signs a treaty with Germany.Two the Anschluss with Austria, Austria has never been part of Germany it is the takeover of a sovereign state by another, the Allies ignore it. Third, Germany destroys Czechoslovakia in March 1939, instead of declaring war the Allies give Poland a guarantee. Fourth, the Allies do not declare war over the invasion of Poland, they build up, so do the Germans, I fail to see how this makes Germany easier to defeat.

    WWII was absolutely the good war of popular culture. A warmonger and butcher was defeated. How much clearer do wars have to be before they are good enough?

    Both yourself and Mr. Doom have given the argument that the Soviets won WWII. They did and we helped them win, because they helped us win. As Winston Churchill said "If Hitler invaded hell I would at least make a favourable reference to the devil in the house of commons" I think you have both forgotten an important fact, the Soviet Union was invaded. Britain joined forces with another of Germany's victims, nothing more, nothing less. Because I believe that the peoples of the Soviet Union deserved our support against a regime that believed at best they should be slaves, at worst exterminated. That Communism was murderous and barbaric you'll get no issue from me. But one war at a time please.

    At for Poland not regaining its freedom in 1945, I do not agree, Poland was once again Governed by Poles in 1945. Not by a democratic Government, not by the pre-war Government, by a Communist Government, a Polish Communist Government. That the Soviets controlled the Polish Government, true, but under the Nazi's the Poles hardly had a present let alone a future. Surely a future in which the Polish people exist and can no matter how imperfectly govern themselves is better than what the Nazi's had to offer them?

    The British Empire is a sad loss, like you I am an Empire Loyalist. Sadly the British Empire wasn't built to last, if it was Canada would never have been given Dominion status, or Australia. Surely we would have all had seats in the Mother of Parliaments at Westminster. But that never happened and instead we became independent and we are all the poorer for it, including Britain herself.

    You are right Communism benefited greatly from WWII and it did enslave people, I fail to see how not defeating Germany and Japan leaves these peoples better off?

    Mark Moncrieff